Catholic Charities are done with the foster care business. The Catholic Charities foster care lawsuit was reportedly dropped, thereby avoiding a potential court battle that would have pitted religious beliefs and church freedoms against sexual orientation discrimination and state laws.
Leaders of the dioceses of Joilet, Springfield, and Belleville decided to end their partnership with the state to provide foster care services and will transfer the more than 1,000 foster care children currently under their care to other agencies, reports the Chicago Tribune. This had been a historic relationship between the two groups that had led to the creation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
At the heart of the lawsuit was whether Catholic Charities could continue to turn away same-sex couples looking to adopt children. The church only recognized marriage between a man and a woman and so it refused to recognize same-sex civil unions saying that it violated Catholic teachings, reports the Tribune.
However, as Catholic Charities receives state funding, state officials said that the charity was violating anti-discrimination laws by treating same-sex couples differently than traditionally married couples. The church countered that as a religious institution they were immune from discrimination charges under the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act.
Had the case gone to trial, the case would likely have garnered national attention and swallowed vast amounts of money on both sides.
So, church leaders ultimately voted to drop the Catholic Charities’ foster care lawsuits and save their resources. Now the charity says they plan to redirect their energies toward serving the poor.
- Find a Chicago Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Catholic Charities of Joliet readies for transition of foster care cases (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Comparison of Same Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships (FindLaw)
- Illinois Human Rights Act and Sexual Orientation Discrimination (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)